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The Ballad of the Cork Leg

Transcribed by Teena from "Ulster Songs and Ballads"
Collected and set down by H. Richard Hayward 1925
3 Henrietta Street, London W.C.

I'll tell you the story that is no sham,
In Holland there lived a merchant man,
Who every morning said, I am
The richest merchant in Amsterdam.

One day he sat, full as an egg,
When a poor relation came in to beg,
And kicking him out, he kicked a keg,
And kicking this keg, he broke his leg.

He told his friends how he was put
About by a friend that he lost his foot
And says he; "On crutches I'll never walk
For I'll have a beautiful leg of cork."

A doctor came on his vocation
And to him made a long oration,
And at the end of his occupation
He finished all up with an amputation.

When the leg was on, and finished right,
When the leg was on, they screwed it tight,
And although he went with a bit of a hop,
When he grounded the leg it wouldn't stop.

O'er hedges and ditches he scoured the plain
And to rest his leg he was very fain,
And he threw himself down, but t'was all in vain,
For the leg pulled him up and was off again.

He called to them that were in sight:
"Oh, stop me, or I am punctured quite!!"
But although their aid he would thus invite,
In less than a second he was out of sight.

And so he kept running from place to place,
And the people thought he was running a race,
And he clung to a post for to stop the pace
But the leg it still kept up the chase.

O'er hedges and ditches he runs full sore
And Europe he has travelled it o'er,
And although he's dead and is no more,
The leg goes on as it did of yore.

So often you'll see in the dim half light
A merchant man and a cork leg tight,
And from these you may learn it's wrong to slight,
A poor relation with a keg in sight!